Has Adopting Pets Become Too Difficult?

The application and contract is certainly not uncommon, either. Several animal shelters ABCNEWS.com contacted said that to adopt, customers have to provide references and details about any previous animals they have cared for. And sometimes even a long conversation about the responsibility that comes with having a pet is required, especially if the agency is a bit hesitant about the potential owner.

Have Pet Adoption Rules Gone Too Far?

With as many as 7 million stray animals entering shelters each year, industry members said that these rules are the only way to ensure that the animals they find homes for won't end up on the street again.

"We have to enforce our adoption agreements because we have enough trouble finding them homes once, we don't want to have them recirculated or having puppies," said Carolyn B. Matlack, an animal rights attorney and managing editor of The Animal Legal Report. "In order to ensure that, pet adoption agencies have to enforce their agreements."

While fans seem to be rallying behind DeGeneres, national animal organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the American Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, are split on whether they believe the pet adoption rules -- like the one DeGeneres flouted -- are too strict.

"We know that Ellen was trying to do the right thing in finding the dog a new home," PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said in a statement to ABCNEWS.com. "She just missed a step in neglecting to contact the agency first. PETA does think that the agency's policies of doing home checks and not allowing people to transfer animals to others are good rules that protect animals."

On the other hand, the ASPCA seems to agree more with what many of DeGeneres' followers are saying -- as long as the dog is safe, why should the contract matter?

"Had a similar situation been encountered with an ASPCA adopter, and had the new home met our adoption criteria, in all likelihood we would have encouraged the new home environment for the animal," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres in a written statement. "We would encourage Mutts and Moms to revisit its approach to this situation and look forward to a positive outcome that reinforces the importance of pets in our society and the human-animal bond."

"I can understand the high priority that adopters give to the contract," said Matlack, who is also the author of "We've Got Feelings Too!' "You can never be too safe, for far too long we have treated animals as disposable goods."

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